Friends,
We have died. –If we’ve been born again. We remain dead, if we are walking in the New Life / walking in the Path of Eternal Life / walking in Christ. This death is the death to the Old Self, and the New Life is the Life of Christ Jesus Himself in (and through and on) us. We have been baptized into Christ and He is our life now. (Read Rom. 6:1-7 and 2 Cor. 5:15,17.)

Col. 3:1-4 states, “…you have been raised with Christ… For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” Indeed, by being dead to the Old Self so that the Holy Spirit of Christ Jesus lives His life through us, we inherit Glory (Heaven / Eternal Life).

So, by being born again (born anew / born of God) we have “taken off our old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” (Col. 3:9,10) In our New Self, we reject our old sinful practices and instead strive to be “transformed by the renewing of our mind” (Rom. 12:2), to be obedient to the command to “reject conforming to the pattern of this world” (see same verse), and to be “offering our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.” (See v. 1) Then along with the Apostle Paul, we can say, “I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Gal. 2:20)

Being dead to the Old Self and being alive in the Obedient-to-Christ New Self is how we walk in freedom from sin (Rom. ch. 6) and how we “come to know Christ” (Eph. 4:20), and this freedom and intimacy is the basis for Eternal Life. (John 8:31-36 & 17:3 // 1 John 2:3,4)

We must not let anyone deceive us: Christ-followers cannot carry around with them the Old Self. The Old Self must be crucified. (Rom. 6:6 // Gal. 5:24) It must be circumcised off. (Col. 2:11) It is our choice to submit to this process –which Christ will do for us if we ask Him to and if He sees that our hearts are genuine in covenanting with Him –covenanting to be “done with sin” (1 Pe. 4:1), to live for His will only (v. 2), and to hold to The Pledge That Saves (3:21) –“the pledge of a good conscience toward God.” (Same verse) If we truly submit to this baptism of death to the Old Self, then we are raised with Christ (resurrected into His Resurrection-Life) to live in His power –no longer under Sin’s mastery at all! (Study Rom. ch. 6) May all Christ-followers be enlightened by the knowledge of this incomparably great power for us who believe (Eph. 1:18-23) so that we may know our Lord better and better! (v. 17)

All Christ-followers must be “taught in Him in accordance with the Truth this is in Jesus.” (Eph. 4:21) This Truth teaches that, “In regard to our former way of life which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires” (see v. 22), we must “put off our old self” (same verse) and “be made new in the attitude of our minds.” (v. 23) This means we must “put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (v. 24) In other words, the Old Self must be discarded completely so that we can walk in the New Self –the New Self which gives us a new attitude, a new mind, a new heart, and a new righteous conduct that is like God. Truly, our whole being and life is to be an imitation of God (5:1) and of Christ. (1 John 2:6)

Yes, the Old Self must be cast off, renounced, thrown away, demolished. The New Self must be put on and worn –every day, throughout life. We ourselves are responsible to “rid ourselves of all sin” (see Col. 3:5-9 and Ja. 1:21,22), to “clothe ourselves with Christ” (see Rom. 13:14), to “keep in step with the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25), to “sow to please the Spirit” (6:8b), to be “controlled… by the Spirit” (Rom. 8:9), to “set our hearts and minds only on things above” (see Col. 3:1,2), and to obey Christ’s commands so that we remain in His love (John 15:10) and not fall back under His wrath (v. 2,6 // Rom. 11:20-22 // Gal. 6:8a // Col. 3:6 // Heb. 10:26-39) –God’s wrath which comes on all who, in disobedience (Eph. 5:6), continue to live according to the sinful nature (Gal. 5:19-21) or who go back to sin’s mastery after having been washed. (Mt. 18:32-34 & 24:45-51 // 1 Cor. 3:16,17 // Heb. 6:4-12 // 2 Pe. 2:20-22) Yes, all who do wrong will be repaid for it with eternal fire, and there is no favoritism. (Mt. 13:41,42 // Col. 3:25)

The Old Self must be sliced off, killed, disposed of, disintegrated, obliterated. Two opposing Selves cannot be worn at the same time, nor can one be worn one day and the other the next day. God will not be mocked. Only those consistently living in, and according to, the New Resurrected Life (the New Self) will inherit Eternal Life and thus appear with Christ in Glory. (Col. 3:3,4)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
As this year comes to a close, I pray that we will all reflect on how well we lived out our Lord’s expectations of us. For as He states in Mt. 10:38, “Anyone who does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.”

Jesus does not say, “Anyone who does not believe in Me is not worthy of Me.” No, instead of belief, He emphasizes action –carrying one’s cross and following after Him. We should also note His words, “…is not worthy of Me”, recognizing that we are being informed that there is a way to be worthy of Jesus and a way of not being worthy of Him, and that the deciding factor is our action, or lack of it.

Let’s look at the next verse, Mt. 10:39, if we aren’t yet persuaded that Jesus means that our behavior determines whether or not we are worthy of Him (of belonging to Him and inheriting Heaven). He says there, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

It cannot be denied then: No one who keeps sinning is following Jesus while he or she is sinning. No one who keeps sinning is carrying his cross or losing his life for Christ’s sake. Instead, those who continue to sin are holding on to their life, their own self-rulership, their own desires, their own path. In trying hard to find their life (their prosperity and the fulfillment of their dreams), they will lose their life in the long run. They will lose their inheritance of Eternal Life. They will lose their soul.

In Luke’s account Christ’s meaning is very clear: Those who claim to belong to the Lord must deny themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow Jesus (Luke 9:23), losing their lives for Christ so as to not forfeit, for eternity, one’s very self. (v. 24,25)

So, have we conducted ourselves throughout 2018 in a manner worthy of Jesus? If not, He who does not show favoritism (Rom. 2:11), may say something like this: “You did not deny yourself, you did not carry your cross, and you did not follow Me. You told others you were doing so, but I saw what you did every day, I heard your words and your thoughts, and I read your heart. Nine times out of ten, you were concerned about satisfying yourself, not about pleasing Me. You threw Me crumbs, and you knew you were doing so, though I am the Eternal King, the Judge, the Almighty God. You also often used others for your own advancement. Truly, in trying to find your life, you are losing it. Repent! Why should you perish? Deny yourself fully, obey Me at all times, and follow Me with all your heart. Only then, will you find Life.”

We definitely want Life. So let’s decide that in this new year the Lord will find us always doing what it takes to be found worthy of Him.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

The Storms

September 15, 2018

Friends,
Besides the typhoon that has passed through the Philippines, a country very dear to me, and besides the storm drenching the lower east coast of our U.S., there are at least two other “storms” that I am praying much about. One is that storm between conservatives and leftists here in the U.S. which has resulted from the extreme hatred blinding the latter who continue to vehemontly obstruct the efforts of the former. Today I listened to a strong and excellent speech Ted Cruz gave earlier this month in regards to this, found here:

https://youtu.be/AW9cos7_KnU

Another video and speech I watched today was that given by Amir at Behold Israel. For anyone interested in how the events in the Middle East keep lining up with Bible prophecy, Amir, an Israeli citizen, is highly informative. I have watched him often over the last year or more and the video he posted two days ago is something I hope everyone listens to closely. Here is the link for that:

https://youtu.be/aMLXN_pKaZ0

The battle between righteousness and evil is huge and escalating. Ideologies and nations are lining up in the positions God’s Word has prophesied about. But, will we ourselves be found alert, walking in the Truth, bearing the fruit of righteousness… and ready?

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
Last week when I was witnessing downtown –from the train station area and up to the restaurant area and back– I had quite a few dramatic encounters. I won’t go into them, except to mention one that was with a man in leotards and tight shirt, midriff showing, bandana over his hair, and with the claim that he is a “prophet”. He gave me his name, a Bible name, and he stressed the importance of names… but I’ll call him David here.

I listened patiently to David, lovingly caring about him through the Holy Spirit, for at least 25 minutes, hardly getting a word in myself, as he spoke of the political moral climate and quoted a lot of Scripture verses. I certainly try not to judge people by first impressions, but besides his prostitute appearance, he used a lot of foul language. These suggested to me that he is not actually walking with the Lord. However, understanding that I didn’t know his story, and respecting him for having memorized Scripture at some point in his life, I only called him out on his use of swear words. He gave some convoluted justification, but I stuck with my assertion, quoting Eph. 4:29, from which he did seem to feel some slight conviction.

I relay this encounter because I believe a person’s words reveal a lot about the heart of that person. James, in chapter 3 when discussing the human tongue (words), asks how it is that a person can, out of the same mouth (heart), gush out praise for God as well as cursing toward others. (v. 9-12) It is inconsistent and it thus reveals that the source (the heart) is actually contaminated (v. 8,11,12), and if not allowed to be cleansed and kept cleansed by Christ, will corrupt the whole person and eventually destroy that person. (v. 6)

Jesus Himself confirms for us that “the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean’.” (Mt. 15:18) In other words, sins lurking in the heart will reveal themselves through one’s words, proving that person remains impure. (v. 18-20) Since just a few statements before this Jesus says, “If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit” (v. 14b), shouldn’t we recognize that He is teaching us to not adhere to those guides or “prophets” whose speech is not clean, even if they claim to be servants of Christ? As Jesus says in the same verse, “Leave them; they are blind guides.” (v. 14a)

I felt, and still feel, concern for David and I realize there has to be a good reason why he can quote Scripture and why he has faith in the Word of God. Whoever taught him must have been concerned for his soul, and certainly God is still concerned. The Lord wants him cleansed and able to use His Word appropriately, accurately, and for the furtherance of the Truth and God’s glory.

Here is the part of Eph. 4:29 that I quoted to David: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths.” This command is quite comprehensive. Unwholesome talk covers a lot –from swear words to slander to false testimony to malicious words to mockery… The rest of the verse validates this by adding that our talk should instead consist of “only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Of course this doesn’t mean we shy away from speaking truth, for verse 15 has already pointed out that we are to be “speaking the truth in love”, but, our words must be clean and wholesome.

Eph. 4:30 goes on: “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God…” Since this warning follows right after verse 29 –the verse I brought up to David– we should see the connection –that unwholesome talk grieves the Holy Spirit. Without question, engaging in unwholesome talk is not sowing to please the Spirit which leads to eternal life, but is instead sowing the opposite. (Gal. 6:8) Unwholesome talk is not a fruit of the Spirit but instead of the sinful nature (5:16-26)

Eph. 4:31 tells us to get rid of such sins as bitterness, rage, and slander, while Col. 3:8 also commands us to rid ourselves of these, as well as of obscene language. As Jesus warns, “…everyone will have to give account on the day of judgement for very careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Mt. 12:36,37) And what does Jesus say immediately prior to this, in verse 35? He says, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.” Jesus is saying that those who speak evil things have a storehouse of evil within them!

How can anyone, then, take unwholesome talk lightly? –Especially from anyone who claims to be walking with, serving, or speaking on behalf of God?

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
Chapter four of Ephesians begins with the admonition that we live a life worthy of the calling to which we have been called. (v. 1) Verse two reveals some of the characteristics/actions we are to have/show in order to do so –being completely humble, gentle, patient, and loving. We are to recognize that Christ Jesus, through His grace, has distributed to each one of us certain gifts for the building up of His body (Eph. 4:7,11,12; also 1 Cor. 12:4-14,27) so that we all reach maturity and fullness in Christ. (Eph. 4:13) We are expected to be “full of goodness” (Rom. 15:14) and “complete in knowledge” (same verse), that we may be “competent to instruct one another” (same verse) and discerning of “how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Heb. 10:24)

This is the new way of Life, the result of the new self we have put on. The “old self with its practices” (Col. 3:9) has been discarded. (Same verse) If we are truly in Christ, He circumcised off of us the sinful nature. (2:11) “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old is gone, the new has come!” (2 Cor. 5:17) “We have been buried with him through baptism into death –death to sin by the old self being crucified– so that we may live a new life.” (See Rom. 6:1-7 and Col. 2:12,13) Indeed, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” (Gal. 5:24) “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” (v. 16) And “if the Spirit of God and Christ lives in you, you will be controlled by the Holy Spirit; you will not be controlled by the sinful nature.” (See Rom. 8:9) Don’t let anyone fool you: The latter leads to eternal destruction, the former leads to eternal life. (Rom. 6:16-23 & 8:13,14 // Gal. 6:7,8)

So, the old self followed the “former way of life” (Eph. 4:22) and it was “being corrupted by its deceitful desires” (same verse), but the new self has a new attitude (v. 23) and is “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (v. 24) Therefore, let us “put on the new self” (same verse) every day “that we may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way [–that is, by] bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.” (Col. 1:10)

Do we understand The Truth? Do we recognize that most people are teaching a falsehood when they say we can live as we please if we have Christ’s righteousness imputed to us? Rest assured: “Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” (Rom. 8:8) Consequently, those who are not “bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God” (see Col. 1:10 again) are not wearing the new self (Eph. 4:24), are not clothed with the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 13:14), are not conformed to His image (8:29), have not offered their bodies as living sacrifices pleasing to God (12:1), and are not going to inherit Christ’s Kingdom. (Eph. 5:19-21; see also Rev. 3:14-16)

“What counts is a new creation.” (Gal. 6:15) This newness, this clean self, must permeate the heart, the mind, the attitude, the words, the deeds –everything– of that new creation. Then, and only then, is a person pleasing to God, saved, and worthy of the calling of belonging to the Lord. (John 15:10 // Eph. 4:1 & 5:3-17 // Col. 1:10 // 1 John 2:3-6)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
It is common to hear that Christians are saved by grace and that, therefore, we are not saved by works. Eph. 2:8,9 seem to be most often quoted, though they leave out verse 10 which reveals we are ordained to do good works –a verse that implies that if we don’t, we are in rebellion.

Rom. 4:1-5 is also often pointed out about Abraham being justified, not by works, but by believing God. However, the context is left out, for a few verses prior, in Rom. 3:27-31, and really the theme of chapters 2, 3, and 4, show that the works being spoken about are the works of the Jewish law. What Paul is pointing out is that Abraham was found righteous in God’s eyes because of his faith in God’s instructions and promises to him, not by adhering to a law which had not even been given yet. James 2:20-24 makes this point also, stating that this faith Abraham possessed resulted in actions, for it says Abraham was “considered righteous for what he did…” (v. 21) –actions which came as a result of believing God (v. 23,24)– for “his faith was made complete by what he did.” (v. 22)

Thus we see that God’s Word teaches that it is true living faith –the faith that causes obedience– that is credited to us as righteousness. This is what is repeated several times in Romans chapter four and what is stated in the first paragraph of the book –that it is a message concerning “the obedience that comes from faith.” (Rom. 1:5) Scripture does not teach that Christ’s righteousness covers the person continuing in sin (disobedience –Eph. 5:6 / lawlessness –1 John 3:4 / rebellion –Heb. 3:7-15), but rather teaches that our faith (which equates to trust and eager obedience) is what makes us righteous in God’s eyes. Yes, it is God’s grace that has given (faith-filled) people the gift of righteousness, which is what Rom. 5:17 reveals, but this same verse reveals that this gift of righteousness (actual righteous conduct –see 1 John 3:7, not a claim –Titus 1:16) is what is to reign in our lives. As Rom. 8:4 says, the righteous requirements of the law (God’s moral law –1 Cor. 7:19 / Christ’s law –1 Cor. 9:21, preformed through the law of the Spirit –Rom. 8:9 & 7:6) are expected to be fully met in us. (See also John 15:10)

It is true that 2 Cor. 5:21 teaches “that in Him [Christ] we might become the righteousness of God”, but this is available only for those of whom verse 15 speaks of –those who are living “no longer for themselves but for Him who died for them”, and those of whom verse 17 is true: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old [creature and lifestyle] has gone, the new has come!” These expectations being of the True Doctrine, and so that we do not “receive God’s grace in vain” (2 Cor. 6:1), we are to “purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” (2 Cor. 7:1)

As Rom. 8:13 teaches, we ourselves are to eliminate sin from ourselves using the power of the Spirit we’ve been given (given because of God’s grace), thereby walking in the Spirit so that we do not fulfill the desires of the sinful nature. (Gal. 5:16) Indeed, God’s grace has been poured out that we might live pleasing to Him, not so that we can sin safely with Christ’s righteousness supposedly covering us and hiding us from the eyes of the omniscient God! Definitely, no matter what sinning “Christians” claim, the Truth teaches that “those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” (Rom. 8:8)

Rom. 4:6-8 may likely also be mentioned by those who think faith does not include works, but Paul, in quoting David’s words in Ps. 32:1,2 is making a point about God’s forgiveness toward those who have faith apart from circumcision / Jewish law. Again, this is the theme throughout the context of chapter 4, as well as of chapters 2 and 3. If we go to Ps. 32, verse 2 finishes with, “and in whose spirit is no deceit.” Assumedly Paul did not quote this last phrase of David’s because he was stressing a slightly different point –the point that God pardons anyone having living faith, including non-Jews. Paul was not negating the need for repentance and obedience to God. Indeed, if we look at verses 3-5 of Ps. 32, we can see that David writes that it was only when he acknowledged and confessed his sin to the Lord, that the Lord forgave his guilt (v. 5), and that until he relinquished his sin, God’s hand was heavy upon him and he was under great duress. (v. 3,4) It is important that we interpret Scripture with Scripture when determining what the true doctrine of Christ is.

Some people may bring into the discussion Isa. ch. 53 which tells us that Jesus bore our sins by His death, and which ends with, “For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (v. 12) Yes, this atoning sacrifice was not a reward for anything good we humans had done, but was instead God’s gift to all mankind, undeserving though we all are. This truly is grace, making it true that this gracious gift of salvation has not been granted because of our works.

However, it is also true that we must believe in this Gift, we must receive it, and once we receive it, we must submit to, follow, and obey the Giver, who is, we must recognize, The King, The Lord Almighty, the Ruler and Boss of all, and the Rightful Master of our individual lives. It must be taught how this is done, for it is done by renouncing and turning from all sin. As Isa. 55:7 says, “Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him, and [let him turn] to our God, for He will freely pardon.” Scripture does not teach that God’s grace and His gift of righteousness is given to the person who refuses to forsake sin.

So, to think that the Gift of grace, forgiveness, pardon, righteousness, and salvation is for those who believe in Jesus –well, this is not the entire Truth, for “even the demons believe and shudder.” (Ja. 2:19) Really, truth is not truth if some of it is left out, or if something is added to it, for then it is only partial truth. Jesus and John the Baptist and the apostles and the prophets continually stated that there must be repentance, a forsaking of sin, a life producing “fruit in accordance with repentance.” (Mt. 3:8) As Jesus said, “Unless you repent, you too will all perish.” (Luke 13:3) And as Mt. 3:10 warns, “Every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” Clear confirmation of this is found in Gal. 6:8 –that those who sow to please the sinful nature will reap for themselves destruction as opposed to those who sow to please the Spirit which results in eternal life. Thus those who teach that Christ-followers (Christians) are safe to sin are deceiving themselves and others and making a mockery of God’s Word. (v. 7)

Repentance is absolutely necessary for salvation, as is continued obedience. Moreover, repentance cannot be considered a one-time prayer of acknowledgment of sin but is instead a change of mind, heart, conduct, and spirit. It is a forsaking of sin by letting Christ take it out of us (1 John 3:5) and give us His own divine, sin-free nature (v. 9) which compels us to do what is right. (v. 10) Thus salvation is given to the new creation who keeps on faithfully following Christ by obeying Him.

The Gift of Grace is not the only necessity for salvation, then, is it? No, instead, as Titus 2:11-14 teaches, it is God’s grace that has been given to the world so that those of us who choose to apply it can be redeemed from all wickedness and can walk in pureness, good works, self-discipline, godliness, freedom from the darkness, and eternal life. Those who choose to walk on this holy path consisting of holy conduct (1 Pe. 1:15) are them who can rest in the hope of that further grace which is to be given when Jesus returns (v. 13b) and when God “judges each person’s work impartially.” (v. 17)

We are saved by God’s grace, then, aren’t we? For without it we could not be saved. However, refusing to walk in obedience to God when His grace has given us new life and the power to do so (2 Pe. 1:3,4), is a refusal to apply His grace to ourselves. This refusal would be to “receive God’s grace in vain.” (2 Cor. 6:1)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

We Must Be Doing What Is Right

September 30, 2017

Friends,
Do we do what is right? How often? All the time? Most of the time? Okay, it’s often hard to evaluate ourselves objectively, so let’s ask, “Do others see me doing right, and how often? Would they consider me to be a righteous-acting person or a sinful-acting person?” I’m adding the word “acting” to the words “righteous” and “sinful” because these two latter words should be opposites to us since God’s Word reveals them to be opposites.

Let’s make no mistake about it: Scripture tells us that righteous people are not those who claim to be righteous in God’s eyes or who claim, “I have had Christ’s righteousness imputed to me”, but are instead those who are righteous-acting –those whose actions, thoughts, and words are righteous in God’s sight. Contrary to popular opinion, this is the Truth taught throughout the Word of God, just as 1 John 3:7b confirms: “He [the person] who does what is right is righteous, just as He [Christ Jesus] is righteous.” And the first part of the verse gives the warning, “Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray.” Let’s take serious note: False doctrine is anticipated on this issue, warned about, and warned about to the children of God.

In case we still cannot see ourselves clearly enough to evaluate ourselves in this area, let’s then ask it of others we know: “Does that person generally do what is right, or generally do what is wrong?” 1 John 3:10 says, “Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God.” Or, “Anyone not practicing righteousness is not of God.” I’m not advocating going around judging people, but I am advocating that we discern, and particularly that we discern our own selves, our own actions, our own righteousness or unrighteousness before God. I meet people often, especially while evangelizing, who think they are fine in God’s eyes, even while they continue to buy and/or sell drugs, hire prostitutes, engage in unwholesome talk, and cheat their fellow man. Can such a person really belong to the Lord? 1 John 3:10 makes it abundantly clear that they do not. It makes it abundantly clear that, rather, they belong to the devil. If we can see this situation plainly in others, let’s try to see our own position plainly and truthfully.

This is 1 John 3:10 in its entirety: “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who is not practicing righteousness is not a child of God; neither is anyone who does not love his brother.”

Most of us know love is a must –that we must love the Lord fervently and love others as ourselves. But what about having a life that is filled with “doing what is right”? God’s Word tells us that this is both a proof and a requirement in our salvation status. Yet the church is ignoring this. They are denying that it is so. They are teaching that Christ-followers can do wrong / be sinful / have a life characterized by unrighteous behavior, and still be seen as righteous in God’s opinion. What deception.

1 John 3:8 says, “Anyone practicing sin is of the devil.” Verse 6a says, “Anyone abiding in Him [Christ] does not sin.” The rest of the verse says it even more strongly: “Anyone sinning has not seen Him nor has he known Him.” (v. 6b) Chapter 5, verse 18 says, “We know that everyone having been born of God does not continue to sin.” Chapter 2, verse 4 says, “The person saying, ‘I have known Him,’ yet is not keeping His commandments, is a liar and the Truth is not in him.”

Let’s go over to the Gospel of John, chapter 14, verse 24. Jesus says, “Anyone not loving Me does not obey My teaching.” This means, then, that anyone who is not obeying Christ’s teaching does not love Him. Does anyone not loving Jesus make it to Heaven? Most Christians would say, “No”, as certainly would I, and we can confirm this in the Word, such as when Jesus teaches in this passage that it is the person who obeys Him within whom the Spirit sets up residence. (v. 21-23) And of course, “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ indwelling him or her, that person does not belong to Christ.” (See Rom. 8:9)

While we’re at Rom. 8:9 let’s note that it also confirms that if we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, then we will not be controlled by the flesh (sinful nature / fallen natural nature) but will instead be controlled by the Spirit. Indeed, we have died to the old self and have a new nature and a new Boss. (Rom. ch. 6) If we resist following Him… if we ignore His orders… how can we claim to belong to Him? If we defy our employer’s instructions, would we last long in the company? If we disregard civil laws, would we not soon end up in jail? Heb. 10:29 warns, “How much worse a punishment do you think that person deserves who has trampled upon the Son of God, and who has esteemed as ordinary the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?” How can we claim to follow Christ if we are being daily controlled by the fallen natural nature?

So where do we draw the line? How much unrighteous behavior severs us from Eternal Life? None? –if we claim to have trusted Jesus for salvation? What about a person who claims to belong to Christ yet who keeps falling into the sin of child molesting? Is that person saved because he has trusted in “Christ’s imputed righteousness” for himself? What about a “Christian” who views pornography? Is he really “a new creation”? (2 Cor. 5:17) Do such “Christians” truly possess the Holy Spirit who gives us “all the power we need to live godly”? (See 2 Pe. 1:3,4) Has the old self really died? Has such a person truly been washed clean? And if so, are they walking in that cleansing, or are they going back to the filth? The latter would describe such a person and 2 Pe. 2:20-22 explains, clearly, such a person’s fate.

Now let’s ask, if someone keeps doing the most vile of deeds, even while claiming to be saved, is that person saved? I think most everyone would have to say, “No, that person is deceiving himself.” Okay. So what about “lighter” sins? What about if someone is being immoral in any way? What about if someone has a habit of drugs, theft, rage, greed, laziness, slander, or lying?

Friends, the true standard is not our opinion. The standard is God’s standard and He has revealed what that is in His Word. This can be seen in Gal. 5:19-21 where we are told that “those who live like this will not inherit the Kingdom of God” and it lists impurity, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, drunkenness, etc. “Those who live like this…” –That’s about behavior. Another example is in 1 Cor. 6:9-11 where a similar list is given. Verse 9 there warns us to not be deceived about the fact that the wicked will not inherit the Kingdom of God. And lest anyone says, “Well, ‘the wicked’ are those who have not had Christ’s righteousness imputed to them”, verses 9 and 10 list those characters who behave in particular manners. Wicked and righteous are labels the Bible gives to describe people as a result of the way those people conduct themselves. (See Mt. 13:41-43 & ch. 25 and John 5:29 and Ja. 2:14-26 just for starters.)

Some other lists of behaviors and character traits that will disable people from salvation can be seen in Eph. 4:31-5:7 which include bitterness, slander, and greed, and in Col. 3:5-10 which include lust, anger, malice and fowl talk, and in Rev. 21:8 which include the cowardly and all liars.

Col. 1:21 says, “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because…” Why? –Because you had not yet put your trust in Christ and been imputed forever with His righteousness? No. It says, “…because of your evil behavior.” It is sin that separates us from God and if we go back to wallowing in it, we have forfeited the grace of God that has allowed for us, and been available to empower us, to walk pleasing to Him. (Jonah 2:8,9 // Rom. 2:1-16 // 2 Cor. 6:1,2,14-18 // Titus 2:11-14 // Heb. 6:8 & 10:26-31)

So, is our life one of sinful-acting or righteous-acting? Are we wicked or are we righteous? All individuals, including those who claim to be saved, are given a label by God based on whether or not we are making a daily practice of doing what is right. (Luke 9:23-25) If we are not, we are sinning (Ja. 4:17), we do not belong to God (1 John 3:10), and we are, instead, of the devil. (v. 8 )

Let us, therefore, “repent and turn to God, doing works consistent with repentance.” (Acts 26:20)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel